So, the Obama administration finally decided to act right and reversed their decision attempting to require a prescription for women 17 and under to get the Plan B pill to prevent pregnancy.
There are so many misconceptions about Plan B, and it’s detractors (my lovely friends on the right) don’t care to acknowledge facts about the medication.
So, mini crash course on Plan B, if you aren’t familiar, and why it is imperative girls of ALL ages have the right to access it.
Plan B stops the sperm from reaching the egg, essentially. It is called the “morning-after” pill, because it is essential to take it before the sperm reaches the egg. It is obviously ideal to take it ASAP, but you can actually take it up to 3 days after unprotected sex, but it’s chance of effectiveness decreases as time goes on, because there’s more of a chance that Mr. Sperm has met Ms. Egg.
The anti-choice folks have taken to calling it “the abortion pill,” which makes no sense because, as we’ve already established, it ISN’T EFFECTIVE IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN FUCKING IMPREGNATED. I once got into a debate with a woman I knew who worked at a pharmacy over this. She at one point said as part of her argument that a young girl who barely spoke English approached her counter and asked for “the abortion pill.”
Just because tons of false information has been disseminated about pregnancy, abortion, birth control, etc., and sadly lots of young, impressionable youth believe it, it doesn’t make it true. You’ve heard me complain about it before but it bears repeating. The anti-choice movement constantly uses bad, FALSE information to scare women out of making informed choices about their bodies, and this is why we MUST question their motives. If people willfully refuse to acknowledge medical knowledge, we must call them out. If you have to lie, what are you really trying to achieve?
Even so, reaching that young woman with a lie didn’t stop her from wanting to prevent or stop a pregnancy, it just maybe made her feel bad.
Even some people in the pro-choice camp feel uneasy about the access young women will have to Plan B. I actually got into a debate about this with my own mother, who said she didn’t like girls that young having access to something like that. Won’t it encourage them to have unprotected sex if that is their back up? Won’t it encourage them to have sex?
Hmm. Here’s the thing, they will have sex anyway! For reals! Do y’all remember being that age? All those hormones? Sex will happen anyway, and if teens are making the decision to have sex it is their RIGHT to be equipped with options to prevent pregnancy. Also, even if it is over the counter, Plan B ain’t cheap. We’re talking $50 a pop. I highly doubt anyone will be using this to prevent birth control. In fact, the same argument can be made about abortion. *But we’ll stick to Plan B for now.
Disclosure, I have used Plan B. I was 17, I had just recently lost my virginity to my high school sweetheart, and we were madly in love. We were also teenagers with insane hormones. Despite already being on the pill (which I had been taking far before I was having sex for other reasons), my beau and I also used condoms, because, hey, I was then and now absurdly careful. At some point one summer day, things got out of hand, we didn’t use a condom once, and we were both freaking out *In all likelihood the freaking out and stress was probably unfounded as I was on the pill, but it seemed terrifying at the time. I had heard of Plan B, and I knew the only place I could get it at the time was Planned Parenthood. I had no car, and I had to get to the clinic on one of their “open clinic” days, since it wouldn’t be possible to get an appointment in the time frame necessary.
After a lie to my cheerleading coach I skipped out of practice to PP. But I had just missed the hours, they were no longer seeing people. I cried, and the amazing folks at the clinic helped me out anyway, like they’ve helped so many countless women over the years. Wooh! I wasn’t pregnant.
Anywho, maybe it’s me getting old (er) but it of course does concern me that youth are having sex at such a young age. At 17 I was actually the late bloomer amongst my friends! This fact isn’t going to go away by ignoring it, though. If we don’t trust a young woman to be able to make decisions about whether or not she can take a medication to prevent pregnancy, how the hell can we trust her to raise a child? The possibility is already there, so saying she shouldn’t have had sex is a moot point.
Of course there is also an argument that those under 17 should have access to Plan B, but only with parental consent and/or a prescription. Ummm. No. This assumes that every young woman has parents she can talk to and communicate with. It also assumes that a young woman’s body is owned by her parents. If a young woman has had sex, and might be pregnant, it is her decision alone to decide whether or not she wants to risk getting pregnant versus taking Plan B.
Me? I didn’t tell my mom, and I of all people had a ridiculously supportive ally in my mom. I know I could have told her, but 17 year old me just really didn’t want to tell my mom that I wasn’t a virgin and that I, Miss Responsible hadn’t used a condom one time. The idea was mortifying to me. Weirdly enough, my coach called her to make sure my appointment went okay (I apparently told too much of a dramatic lie to not cause concern) and my mom demanded an explanation. So, I told her the truth, almost: I went to the clinic with my *friend* who needed emotional support. She was distraught. How is my friend? Can they tell their parents? My goodness how sad it must be to not be able to talk to your mom in that situation! I would definitely talk to HER if I needed to, right? I know I could go to her, right? She even cried. Seriously. And I still didn’t tell her. Jesus, I felt like a jerk. I suppose I’m just trying to hit home that, even in the most ideal of parent-daughter relationships, it isn’t something a lot of youth will want to do, and, as it is a personal decision, they shouldn’t have to in the first place.
I hope the daughter I have some day will be able to tell me anything, ask me anything, so that she can make informed decisions and have an amazing support system. But, I also respect that she will be capable of making her own decisions about her body, and that she should have every right to make that decision on her own, without anyone’s permission.